The Enemy Flanks Eighth Army in the West

The smallest detail, taken from the actual incident in war, is more instructive for me, a soldier, than all the Thiers and Jominis in the world. They speak, no doubt, for the heads of states and armies but they never show me what I wish to know-a battalion, a company, a squad, in action.

ARDANT DU PICQ, Battle Studies

The N.K. 6th, farthest to the west of the enemy divisions, had a special mission. After the fall of Seoul, it followed the N.K. 3d and 4th Divisions across the Han as far as Ch'onan. There the N.K. Army issued new orders to it, and pursuant to them on 11 July it turned west off the main highway toward the west coast. For the next two weeks the division passed from the view of Eighth Army intelligence. Various intelligence summaries carried it as location unknown, or placed it vaguely in the northwest above the Kum River.

Actually, the 6th Division was moving rapidly south over the western coastal road net. Its shadow before long would turn into a pall of gloom and impending disaster over the entire U.N. plan to defend southern Korea. Its maneuver was one of the most successful of either Army in the Korean War. It compelled the redisposition of Eighth Army at the end of July and caused Tokyo and Washington to alter their plans for the conduct of the war.

Departing Yesan on 13 July, the N.K. 6th Division started south in two columns and crossed the lower Kum River. (See Map III.) The larger force appeared before Kunsan about the time the 3d and 4th Divisions attacked Taejon. The port town fell to the enemy without resistance. The division's two columns united in front of Chonju, thirty miles to the southeast, and quickly reduced that town, which was defended by ROK police. [1]

The N.K. 6th Division was now poised to make an end run through southwest Korea toward Pusan, around the left flank of Eighth Army. In all Korea southwest of the Taejon-Taegu-Pusan highway, at this time, there were only a few hundred survivors of the ROK 7th

[1] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), pp. 33-35; 
GHQ FEC Sitrep, 20 Jul 50.


Division, some scattered ROK marines, and local police units. [2]

The 6th Division departed Chonju on or about 20 July. At Kwangju on 23 July the three regiments of the division separated. The 13th went southwest to Mokp'o on the coast, the 14th south to Posong, and the 15th southeast through Sunch'on to Yosu on the southern coast. The division encountered little resistance during this week of almost constant movement. About 25 July, it reassembled at Sunch'on, ninety air miles west of Pusan, and made ready for its critical drive eastward toward that port. Logistically, the division was poorly prepared for this operation. Its supply was poor and rations were cut in half and on some days there were none. [3]

Advancing next on Chinju, General Pang Ho San, commander of the N.K. 6th Division, proclaimed to his troops on the eve of the advance, "Comrades, the enemy is demoralized. The task given us is the liberation of Masan and Chinju and the annihilation of the remnants of the enemy.... The liberation of Chinju and Masan means the final battle to cut off the windpipe of the enemy." [4]

Everywhere refugees fled the terror sweeping over southwest Korea with the advance of the North Korean Army and guerrilla units. An entry on 29 July in the diary of a guerrilla tellingly illustrates the reasons for panic: "Apprehended 12 men; National Assembly members, police sergeants and Myon leaders. Killed four of them at the scene, and the remaining eight were shot after investigation by the People's court." [5]

Walker Acts

During the battle for Taejon, U.N. aerial observers had reported enemy movements south of the Kum River near the west coast. U.N. intelligence mistakenly concluded that these troops were elements of the N.K. 4th Division. A report from the Far East Command to Washington on 21 July noted this enemy movement and attributed it to that division. The next day a similar report from the Far East Command stated, "The 4th North Korean Division ... has been picked up in assemblies in the vicinity of Nonsan." Enemy forces in battalion and regimental strength, the report said, were moving in a "southward trend, colliding with local police forces." General MacArthur's headquarters considered this "a very bold movement, evidently predicated on the conviction of the enemy high command that the Allied units are potentially bottled up in the mountainous areas northeast of the headwaters of the Kum River. ... The potential of the advance of the enemy 4th Division to the south is altogether uncomfortable, since at the moment, except for air strikes, there is no organized force capable of firm resistance except local police units." [6]

[2] EUSAK WD, Briefing for CG and G-3 Sec, 20 Jul 50.

[3] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K 6th Div), p. 36. The 
dates given in the enemy interrogations are often erroneous by one to 
several days, dependent as they are on human memory. They always have to 
be checked against U.S. records. 

[4] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), p. 37. 

[5] Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, pp. 86-89, Notebook, Itinerary of 
Guerrilla Band, 4 Jul-3 Aug 50.

[6] Telecons, Tokyo to Washington, TT 3559, 21 Jul 50, and TT 3563, 22 
Jul 50.


General Walker knew enemy units were moving south of the Kum River into southwest Korea and maintained aerial observation of the roads there when flying weather conditions permitted. His intelligence section wanted distant armored reconnaissance of this region, but the armored vehicles and personnel to carry it out were not available. In addition to aerial reconnaissance, however, there were the many reports from local South Korean police units. These often were vague, conflicting, and, it was thought, exaggerated. [7]

On 21-22 July, heavy overcast prevented aerial reconnaissance and permitted the enemy to put his columns on the road during daylight and to move rapidly without fear of aerial attack. Alarm at Eighth Army headquarters began to grow. The Fifth Air Force had moved its advance headquarters from Itazuke, Japan, to Taegu on 16 July. The most advanced air bases in Japan-Itazake and Ashiya-were hardly close enough to the battle area of early and middle July to allow more than fifteen to twenty minutes of support by jet fighters. When weather was bad the F-80 jets could scarcely fly a mission at the front and get back to Itazuke. Effective 24 July, the advance group of the Air Force was designated as the Fifth Air Force in Korea. Fair weather returned on 23 July, and General Walker requested the Fifth Air Force to fly an armed reconnaissance of the Kwangju-Nonsan area. [8]

When General Walker asked for aerial reconnaissance of southwest Korea on 23 July, he had at hand a G-2 estimate of the enemy situation in the west below the Kum, just provided at his request. This estimate postulated that elements of one division were in the southwest. It estimated the rate of progress at two miles an hour and calculated that if the enemy turned east he could reach the Anui-Chinju line in the Chiri Mountains by 25 July. [9] This proved to be an accurate forecast.

The air reconnaissance carried out on 23 July was revealing. It showed that enemy forces had indeed begun a drive south from the estuary of the Kum River and were swinging east behind the left (west) flank of Eighth Army. [10]

On the basis of the time and space estimate given him on the 23d and the aerial reconnaissance of the same date, General Walker realized that a major crisis was developing in a section far behind the lines, and at a time when constant enemy attack was pushing his front back. On 24 July, Eighth Army made its first move to counter the threatened enemy envelopment in the southwest. General Walker decided to send the 24th Division posthaste southward to block the enemy enveloping move. He also directed his chief of staff, Colonel Landrum, personally to make sure that the Fifth Air Force made a major effort

[7] Telephone interv, author with Lt Col James C. Tarkenton, Jr. (Eighth 
Army G-2 in 1950), 3 Oct 52. Colonel Tarkenton said that at this time he 
used two L-4 planes to fly daily reconnaissance to the west coast below 
the Kum River. Information also came from aerial combat missions. 

[8] EUSAK WD, G-g Sec, 23 Jul 50; Landrum, Notes for author, n.d., but 
received 8 Mar 54: New York Times, July 23, 1950; USAF Hist Study 71, 
pp. 15-16, 20. 

[9] EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Rpt, 23 Jul 50; Interv, author with Tarkenton, 3 
Oct 52. 

[10] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 24 Jul 50.


against the enemy forces in southwest Korea. [11]

At noon on the 24th, General Walker asked General Church, the new commander of the 24th Division, to come to Eighth Army headquarters in Taegu. There Walker informed him of the threat in the southwest and told him that he would have to move the 24th Division to the sector. "I am sorry to have to do this," he said, "but the whole left flank is open, and reports indicate the Koreans are moving in. I want you to cover the area from Chinju up to near Kumch'on." [12] The two places General Walker mentioned are sixty-five air miles apart and separated by the wild Chiri Mountains.

General Church had assumed command of the 24th Division just the day before, on 23 July, after General Dean had been three days missing in action. The division had been out of the line and in army reserve just one day. It had not had time to re-equip and receive replacements for losses. The division supply officer estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the division's equipment would have to be replaced. All three regiments were far understrength. [13]

General Church immediately ordered the 19th Infantry to move to Chinju, and it started from Kumch'on shortly before midnight, 24 July. The next day, 25 July, at 1700, Eighth Army formally ordered the division, less the 21st Regiment, to defend the Chinju area. [14]

Eighth Army now had reports of 10 enemy tanks and 500 infantry in Mok'po at the southwest tip of the peninsula; 26 trucks and 700 soldiers in Namwon; tanks, trucks, and 800 soldiers in Kurye; and 500 enemy troops engaging South Korean police in Hadong. [15] The Eighth Army G-2 estimated at this time that the N.K. 4th Division was dispersed over 3,300 square miles of southwest Korea.

On the morning of 25 July, Col. Ned D. Moore arrived at Chinju about 0600, preceding his 19th Infantry Regiment headquarters and the 2d Battalion, which reached the town at 1500 in the afternoon. Lt. Col. Robert L. Rhea, following with the 1st Battalion, remained behind on the Kumch'on road north of Chinju. There, at Anui, where a road came in from the west, Colonel Rhea placed A Company in a defensive position. The remainder of the battalion continued south eight miles to a main road junction at Umyong-ni (Sanggam on some old maps and Hwasan-ni on others), just east of Hamyang. [16]

The next day, 26 July, Col. Charles E. Beauchamp's 34th Infantry Regiment, on orders from General Church, moved from the Kunwi-Uisong area north of Taegu to Koch'ang. At the same time the 24th Division headquarters and divisional troops moved to Hyopch'on, where General established his

[11] Interv, author with Lt Col Paul F. Smith, 1 Oct 52; Landrum, Notes 
for author, recd 8 Mar 54. 

[12] Interv, author with Church, 25 Sep 52. 

[13] EUSAK WD, Summ, 12-31 Jul 50; 24th Div Go 52, 23 Jul 50; 24th Div 
WD, G-4 Hist Rpt, 23 Jul-25 Aug 50, p. 16. 

At one point in his career, General Church had commanded the 157th 
Regiment at Anzio in World War II. 

[14] 24th Div WD, Jul 50, 25-26 Jul; Ibid., G-2 Jnl, entries 53, 241440 
Jul 50, and 104, 251700 Jul 50; EUSAK WD POR 36, 24 Jul 50. 

[15] EUSAK PIR 13, 25 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 25 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, 
G-2 Jnl, entry 81, 250215, entry 1513, 251700, and entry 1491, 250330 
Jul 50; Telecon, Tokyo to Washington, TT 3567, 24 Jul 50. 

[16] Ltr, Col Robert L. Rhea to author, 21 Sep 53; Moore, Notes for 
author, Jul 53; 24th Div WD, 25-26 Jul 50. 


command post. Hyopch'on is 12 air mile west of the Naktong River, 25 miles north of Chinju, and 15 miles southeast of Koch'ang. It was reasonably well centered in the vast area the division had to defend. [17]

Of the eleven infantry battalions re quested by General MacArthur in early July to make up shortages within the infantry divisions of the Far East Command, two battalions from the 19th Infantry Regiment on Okinawa were the first to arrive in Korea. The history of these units between the time they were alerted for probable combat use in Korea and their commitment in battle shows the increasing sense of urgency that gripped the Far East Command in July, and how promises and estimates made one day in good faith had to be discarded the next because of the growing crisis in Korea. And it also shows how troops not ready for combat nevertheless suddenly found themselves in it.

About the middle of July, Maj. Tony J. Raibl, Executive Officer, 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, learned in Tokyo that the Far East Command expected that the regiment would have at least six weeks' training before being sent to Korea. [18]

Yet, immediately after making that estimate, the Far East Command issued orders to the regiment on 15 July to prepare for movement. All troops were placed in two battalions, the 1st and 3d. Lt. Col. Wesley C. Wilson commanded the 1st Battalion and Lt. Col. Harold W. Mott, the 3d Battalion. The regimental headquarters was to remain behind as a nucleus for a new regiment that would assume responsibility for the ground defense of Okinawa.

The USS Walker arrived at Okinawa on the 20th with about 400 recruits. They were hastily disembarked and allowed to take with them only their toilet articles, driven to the battalion areas, assigned to companies, issued arms and field equipment, and moved back to the Naha docks. On 21 July the two battalions, now at full strength, loaded on board the Fentriss and Takasago Maru during a heavy rain and sailed for Pusan.

On 20 July at Yokohama, Major Raibl learned that the two battalions would not come to Japan but would sail directly for Korea, where they would receive at least ten days of intensive field training in the vicinity of Pusan before they would be committed. When Major Raibl arrived at Taegu on 22 July, he found Col. Allan D. MacLean, Eighth Army Assistant G-3, in no mood to listen to or discuss the lack of combat readiness of the 19th Infantry. Raibl talked at length with General Walker, who was sympathetic but indicated that the situation was urgent. When he left Taegu, Raibl understood that the two battalions would have a minimum of three days at Pusan to draw equipment and zero-in and test fire their weapons. [19]

[17] Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; 24th Div WD, 26 Jul 50. 

[18] Interv, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53; Raibl, 10-page typescript 
statement prepared for author, 19 Oct 53, on events leading up to and 
participation of 3d Bn, 19th Inf, in action at Hadong; Ltr, Capt James 
E. Townes (S-4, 3d Bn, 28th Inf, Jul 50) to author, 8 Oct 53. 

[19] Raibl, Statement for author, 19 Oct 53 Interv, author with Lt Col 
Charles E. Arnold (Ex Off, 1st Bn, 19th Inf, Jul 50), 21 Jul 51; Capt 
Sam C. Holliday, Notes prepared for author, 31 Mar 53, on 1st Bn, 29th 
Inf, 21 Jul-4 Aug 50 (Holliday was S-2, 1st Bn, in Jul 50); Ltr, Gen 
Wright to author, 9 Mar 54; 3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50 
(3d Bn, 19th Inf, in Jul 50).


Instead, when the two battalions disembarked at Pusan the morning of 24 July orders from Eighth Army awaited them to proceed to Chinju. There they would be attached to the 19th Infantry Regiment. The next afternoon the two battalions arrived at Chinju. Instead of the six weeks of training first agreed upon, they found themselves now in a forward position, rifles not zeroed, mortars not test-fired, and new .50-caliber machine guns with cosmoline rubbed off but not cleaned. [20]

That evening, 25 July, Colonel Mott received orders from Colonel Moore, commanding the 19th Infantry at Chinju, to seize Hadong, a road junction point thirty-five miles southwest of Chinju. Colonel Moore said that about 500 N.K. troops were moving on Hadong and comprised the nearest enemy organized resistance. Maj. Gen. Chae Byong Duk, formerly ROK Army Chief of Staff and now in Chinju, urged on Colonel Moore the importance of Hadong in controlling the western approach to Chinju and the desirability of holding it. He offered to accompany any force sent to Hadong. Colonel Moore gave Chae permission to accompany the troops; he had no command function-he was merely to serve as an interpreter, guide, and adviser to Colonel Mott.

The Trap at Hadong

At dusk, 25 July, the 3d Battalion issued a warning order to its units to be prepared to move at 2230 that night, with the mission of seizing Hadong. Colonel Mott and Major Raibl based their plans on the assumption that the battalion would reach Hadong before daylight. They expected that some enemy troops would already be in the town.

Half an hour after midnight the motorized battalion started for Hadong. General Chae and some other ROK officers guided the column south out of Chinju through Konyang, where it turned north to strike the main Chinju-Hadong road at Wonjon. In taking this route they had detoured from the direct road because of an impassable ford. The column spent the entire night trying to negotiate the narrow road and pulling vehicles out of rice paddies. [22]

A little after daylight, the battalion encountered a truck traveling south containing 15 to 20 badly shot-up South Koreans. They claimed to be the only survivors of about 400 local militia at Hadong, which the North Koreans had attacked the night before. Pondering this grave information, Colonel Mott led the battalion on to Wonjon on the main road. There he halted the battalion for breakfast and set up security positions. Mott and Raibl decided that Colonel Moore should know about the happenings at Hadong and, since the battalion did not have radio communication with the 19th Infantry in Chinju, Raibl set out by jeep to tell him.

At Chinju, Raibl told Colonel Moore and Major Logan the story related by the wounded South Koreans. He requested authority for the 3d Battalion,

[20] EUSAK WD, POR 36, 24 Jul 50; Ibid., G-4 Sec, 24 Jul 50.
[21] Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Interv, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53; 
Interv, author with Maj George F. Sharra (CO L Co, 29th Inf, Jul 50), 20 
Oct 53; Interv, author with Col Moore, 20 Aug 52. 

[22] Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, 
and Sharra, 20 Oct 53. 


19th Infantry, to dig in on a defensive position west of Chinju to cover the Hadong road. After considerable discussion, Colonel Moore told Raibl that the battalion should continue on and seize Hadong. Major Raibl accepted the order reluctantly since he thought the battalion could not accomplish this mission. Major Raibl returned to Wonjon shortly after noon and informed Colonel Mott of the instructions.

Colonel Mott stopped the battalion at dusk at the village of Hoengch'on, situated about three miles from Hadong on a bend of the tortuous mountain road.

An Air Force captain with a radio jeep and a tactical air control party arrived a little later. His mission was to direct air strikes the next day and provide communication for the battalion. But en route his radio had become defective and now he could not establish communication with Chinju.

The battalion moved out from Hoengch'on-ni at approximately 0845, 27 July. Capt. George F. Sharra and L Company, with a platoon of the Heavy Weapons Company, were in the lead, followed by the battalion command group and K, M, and I Companies, in that order. Sharra was an experienced rifle company commander, having seen action in Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany in World War II.

When he was about 1,000 yards from the top of the Hadong pass, Sharra saw a patrol of ten or twelve enemy soldiers come through the pass and start down toward him. The Heavy Weapons platoon fired their two 75-mm. recoilless rifles at the patrol but the rounds passed harmlessly overhead. The enemy patrol turned and ran back over the pass. Captain Sharra ordered L Company to dash to the top of the pass and secure it. His men reached the top and deployed on either side of the pass. It was now about 0930. Sharra received orders for L Company to dig in and wait for an air strike on Hadong scheduled for 0944. [23]

The road climbed to the top of the pass along the southern shoulder of a high mountain in a series of snakelike turns, and then started downward to Hadong a mile and a half westward. A high peak on the right (north) towered over the road at the pass; to the left the ground dropped away rapidly to flat paddy land along the Sumjin River.

The command group, including Colonel Mott, Captain Flynn, and most of the battalion staff, now hurried forward to the pass. General Chae and his party accompanied Colonel Mott. Captain Sharra pointed out to Colonel Mott unidentified people moving about on the higher ground some distance to the north. Mott looked and replied, "Yes, I have K Company moving up there." Raibl, at the rear of the column, received orders from Mott to join him at the pass, and he hurried forward.

As the battalion command group gathered in the pass, Captain Sharra, thinking that it made an unusually attractive target, walked over to the left and dropped to the ground beside the gunner of a light machine gun.

Raibl arrived at the pass. He saw that L Company was deployed with two platoons on the left of the pass and one platoon on the right, and that K Com-

[23] Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Interv, author with Maj Robert M. 
Flynn, 5 Nov 53 (Flynn was S-3, 3d Bn, 28th Inf, in Jul 50); 25th Div 
WD, 3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50. 


pany was climbing toward higher ground farther to the north.

Colonel Mott directed Raibl's attention down the road toward Hadong. Around a curve came a column of enemy soldiers marching on either side of the road. Sharra also saw it. He directed his machine gunner to withhold fire until the column was closer and he gave the word. The enemy soldiers seemed unaware that American troops were occupying the pass.

Standing beside Raibl in the pass, General Chae watched the approaching soldiers, apparently trying to determine their identity. Some appeared to be wearing American green fatigue uniforms and others the mustard brown of the North Korean Army. When the approaching men were about 100 yards away, General Chae shouted to them in Korean, apparently asking their identity. At this, they scampered to the ditches without answering. The machine guns of L Company then opened fire. Sharra, who had the column in clear view, estimates it comprised a company. [24]

Almost simultaneously with the opening of American fire, enemy machine gun, mortar, and small arms fire swept over the pass from the high ground to the north. The first burst of enemy machine gun fire struck General Chae in the head and a great stream of blood spurted from the wound. He died instantly. Korean aides carried his body back to a vehicle. The same machine gun fire hit Major Raibl. He rolled down the incline to get out of the line of fire. Colonel Mott, the S-2, and the Assistant S-2 were also wounded by this initial enemy fire into the pass. Enemy mortars apparently had been registered on the pass, for their first rounds fell on the road and knocked out parked vehicles, including the TACP radio jeep. Captain Flynn, unhurt, dropped to the ground and rolled down from the pass. In the first minute of enemy fire the 3d Battalion staff was almost wiped out.

Just after the fight opened, Major Raibl saw two flights of two planes each fly back and forth over the area, apparently trying vainly to contact the TACP below. They finally flew off without making any strikes. Raibl was wounded again by mortar fragments and went down the hill seeking a medical aid man. Meanwhile, Colonel Mott, wounded only slightly by a bullet crease across the back, got out of the line of fire. He was just below the pass helping to unload ammunition when a box dropped, breaking his foot. A soldier dug him a foxhole. As the fighting developed, everyone in Mott's vicinity was either killed or wounded, or had withdrawn down the hill. Very soon, it appears, no one knew where Mott was. [25]

In the pass a hard fight flared between L Company and the North Koreans higher up the hill. On the right-hand (north) side of the road, 2d Lt. J. Morrissey and his 1st Platoon bore the brunt of this fight. The enemy was just above them and the machine gun that had all but wiped out the battalion group in the road was only 200 yards from the pass. Enemy soldiers immediately came in be-

[24] Raibl statement, 19 Oct 53: Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, 
Sharra, 20 Oct 53, and Flynn, 5 Nov 53; Interv, author with Capt Kenneth 
W. Hughes (who commanded the advanced mortar platoon at Hadong), 21 Jul 
51. All these men saw the incident described and agree on the 

[25] Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, Flynn, 5 Nov 53, and Sharra, 
20 Oct 53. 


[Caption] HADONG

tween them and elements of K Company that were trying to climb the hill higher up. These North Koreans attacked Morrissey's men in their foxholes, bayoneting two of them. Morrissey proved a capable leader, however, and his men held their position despite numerous casualties.

Across the road on the south side of the pass, Captain Sharra and the 2d Platoon gave supporting fire to Morrissey's men. Sharra had only voice communication with his three platoons. It is a tribute to the officers, the noncommissioned officers, and the rank and file, half of them young recruits freshly arrived from the United States, that L Company held steadfast in its positions on both sides of the pass against enemy fire and attack from commanding terrain. The North Korean soldiers exposed themselves recklessly and many must have been killed or wounded.

Captain Flynn hastened down from the pass at the beginning of the fight to hurry up the supporting elements of the battalion. Down the road he found part of the Heavy Weapons Company and part of K Company. He ordered a platoon of K Company to attack up the hill, and talked by radio with the company commander, Capt. Joseph K. Donahue, who was killed later in the day. Flynn continued on down the road looking for I Company.

Coming to the battalion trains, Flynn had the wounded, including Major Raibl, loaded on the trucks and started them back to Chinju. Farther in the rear, Flynn found 1st Lt. Alexander G. Makarounis and I Company. He ordered Makarounis to move the company


[Caption] HADONG PASS where men of the 29th Regiment were ambushed.

into the gap between L and K Companies. Flynn started one of its platoons under MSgt. James A. Applegate into the rice paddies on the left of the road, where he thought it could get cover from the dikes in crossing a large, horseshoe-shaped bowl in its advance toward the enemy-held hill mass. [26]

About noon, 2d Lt. Ernest Philips of L Company came to Captain Sharra in the pass and told him he had found Colonel Mott, wounded, a short distance away. Philips went back and carried Mott to Sharra's position. Mott told Sharra to take over command of the battalion and to get it out.

Sharra sent instructions to his three platoons to withdraw to the road at the foot of the pass. His runner to Lieutenant Morrissey and the 1st Platoon on the north side of the pass never reached them. As the L Company men arrived at the trucks they loaded on them, and at midafternoon started for Chinju.

On the way back to Chinju this group met B Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, which had started for Hadong on Colonel Moore's orders at 0800 that morning. The artillery battery had moved slowly with many stops for reconnaissance. It now turned around and went back to Chinju, abandoning one 105-mm. howitzer and four 2 1/2-ton trucks that became bogged down in rice paddies. [27]

Meanwhile, a radio message from Colo-

[26] Interv, author with Flynn, 5 Nov 53.
[27] 13th FA Bn WD, 27 Jul 50. 


nel Mott reached Flynn near the top of the pass, ordering all elements still on the hill to withdraw. Flynn climbed to a point where he could call to Lieutenant Morrissey, still holding out on the right of the pass, and told him to withdraw.

Morrissey had twelve men left; he and one other were wounded. The unidentified Air Force captain with the TACP had fought all day as a rifleman with Morrissey's platoon and had distinguished himself by his bravery. Now he was either dead or missing. Captain Mitchell, the battalion S-2, likewise had fought all day as a rifleman but he lived to withdraw. Morrissey's riflemen fell back down the road to the waiting vehicles and wearily climbed in. When all were accounted for, Captain Flynn started them for Chinju. Then, getting into his own Jeep, he found it would not run.

Flynn clambered down to the low ground south of the road. In the rice paddies he saw many men of I Company. Looking back at the pass he saw enemy troops coming down off the hill, perhaps a battalion or more of them. Mortar and machine gun fire now swept the paddy area. The men caught there had to cross a deep, 20-foot-wide stream to escape, and many drowned in the attempt. Most men rid themselves of helmet, shoes, nearly all clothing, and even their weapons in trying to cross this stream.

Flynn got across and, in a little valley about a mile and a half away, he found perhaps sixty to seventy other American soldiers. While they rested briefly, enemy fire suddenly came in on them from pursuers and they scattered like quail seeking cover. Flynn and three companions walked all night. The next afternoon his party, now numbering ten men, entered the lines of the 19th Infantry.

The largest single group of survivors escaped by going south to the seacoast, only a few miles distant. Sergeant Applegate of I Company led one group of ninety-seven men to the coast, where a Korean fishing vessel took them on board at Noryangjin, five miles south of Hadong. From there the vessel went west to a point near Yosu, where it transferred the men to a Korean naval patrol vessel which returned them to Pusan. [28]

The morning that Mott's battalion approached Hadong, 27 July, Captain Barszcz received orders to take his G Company, 19th Infantry, from Chinju on a motorized patrol along secondary roads northeast of Hadong. He mounted his seventy-eight men in vehicles and conducted the patrol about fourteen miles northeast of Hadong without encountering the enemy. In the afternoon Barszcz returned to the main Hadong-Chinju road near the village of Sigum, about twelve miles east of Hadong.

While he stopped there, an officer with about fifty men came down the road from the direction of Hadong. They told him they were all that were left of L Company. Most of the men were without clothing except for their shorts and boots. One M1 rifle, which apparently had not been fired, and a .45-caliber pistol were their only weapons. The L Company group explained their condition by saying they had to swim a river and wade through rice paddies. Barszcz relieved the group of the weapons, put the men on two trucks, and sent them down the road to Chinju.

[28] New York Times, July 29, 1950, R. J. H. Johnston dispatch. 


Expecting more American stragglers from Hadong, Barszcz put G Company astride the road in a defensive position to cover their withdrawal. He had sent a message with the Chinju-bound trucks explaining what he had done and asked for further orders. [29]

Barszcz held his roadblock east of Hadong until 0400 the morning of 28 July, when Captain Montesclaros from the staff of 2d Battalion, 19th Infantry, arrived with orders and trucks to take G Company back to a line of hills just west of the Nam River, about four miles from Chinju. [30]

At first, Colonel Moore had thought that the Hadong fight was going well. Major Raibl arrived at Chinju with the first wounded in the early afternoon of 27 July, and reported that the 3d Battalion was fighting well and that he thought it would win the battle. But, when other survivors came in later, the real outcome of the engagement became clear. News of the disaster at Hadong reached higher headquarters with unexpected and startling impact. A message from Major Logan, 19th Infantry, to General Church that night reporting on the condition of the 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, said, "No estimate on total number of casualties. Over 100 WIA now in aid station" [31] A count the next day of the assembled 3d Battalion showed there were 354 officers and men, including some walking wounded, able for duty. When all the stragglers had come in, casualties were listed as 2 killed, 52 wounded, and 349 missing. An enemy soldier captured later said the North Koreans took approximately 100 American prisoners at Hadong. When American forces rewon the Hadong area in late September a search uncovered 313 American bodies, most of them along the river and in the rice paddies. [32]

The loss of key officers in the battalion was severe. It included the battalion executive officer, the S-1 the S-2, and the Assistant S-3. The company commanders of Headquarters, I, K, and M Companies were lost, Donahue of K and Capt. Hugh P. Milleson of M were killed, Makarounis of I was captured. (He escaped from the North Koreans in October near P'yongyang.) Approximately thirty vehicles and practically all the crew-served weapons, communication equipment, and even most of the individual weapons were lost. [33]

On 28 July, the day after Hadong, the 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, was reorganized, all remaining personnel being grouped in K and L Companies. The next day, K Company was attached to the 2d Battalion, 19th Infantry, at Chinju, and L Company to the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, two miles to the south of Chinju. [34]

[29] Ltrs, Capt Michael Barszcz to author, 30 Jul and 21 Aug 52; Interv, 
Blumenson with Herbert (Plat Ldr, 1st Plat, G Co, 19th Inf, in Jul 50), 
31 Jul 51, in OCMH files as Chinju Action. 

[30] Ltrs, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul and 21 Aug 52; Intervs, author with 
McGrail and Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52. 

[31] 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 159, 27 Jul 50. 

[32] 24th Div G-3 Jnl, entry, 1583, 272210 Jul 50; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 
27 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 206, 281245 Jul 50; 25th Div WD, 
3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50; Ltr, Townes to author, 8 
Oct 53; 25th Div WD, Aug 50, 35th Inf Interrog PW's (Ko Hei Yo). Major 
Sharra gave the author the figure of 313 American dead. 

[33] 25th Div WD, 3d Bn, 27th Inf Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50. 

[34] 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50. 


The N.K. 4th Division Joins the Enveloping Move

After the fall of Taejon, the N.K. 4th Division rested in the city for two days and took in 1,000 untrained replacements. On the morning of 23 July, it started south from Taejon on the Kumsan road. It was joining the 6th Division in an envelopment of the United Nations' left flank. The N.K. 6th Division moved on an outer arc around the left of the U.N. position, the N.K. 4th Division on an inner arc. The two divisions were engaging in a co-ordinated movement on a theater scale. [35] (See Map III.)

At Kumsan the 4th Division received another 1,000 replacements that had trained only a few days. Departing Kumsan on or about 25 July, the division reportedly left behind the tank regiment that had accompanied it ever since they had crossed the 38th Parallel together a month earlier. The tanks were to remain in Kumsan until the division had crossed the Naktong. [36]

On 28 July the first indication appeared in American intelligence estimates that elements of the N.K. 6th Division might have moved south. The next day the Eighth Army intelligence section conjectured that the enemy had shifted troops southward. It stated that major parts of one enemy division probably were in the Chinju area and major elements of another in the Koch'ang area. While the estimate did not identify the enemy unit in the Koch'ang area, it erroneously repeated that "all elements of this division [the 4th] are attacking eastward along the axis Chinju-Masan." [37] Even after the Hadong battle on the 27th, Eighth Army did not know that these troops were from the 6th Division.

The 34th Infantry of the 24th Division, defending the Koch'ang approach to the Naktong, had a regimental strength at this time of about 1,150 men, with the 1st and 3d Battalions averaging approximately 350 men each. It was in position at Koch'ang on 27 July.

Koch'ang is about midway on the main road between Kumch'on and Chinju and is strategically located near the point where two lateral east-west roads, one from Namwon and Hamyang and the other from Chinan, cross the Kumch'on-Chinju road and continue eastward through Hyopch'on and Ch'ogye to the Naktong River. Chinju is thirty-five air miles south of Koch'ang.

On 27 July, Colonel Moore sent Colonel Wilson with the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, north from Chinju to relieve Colonel Rhea in the Anui area. Colonel Rhea was then to bring his battalion south to Chinju, where Colonel Moore planned to concentrate the 19th Infantry.

The relief took place at Umyong-ni in the early afternoon of 27 July. Wilson's battalion had no artillery, armor, or air support. A platoon of 4.2 mortars had only two rounds of white phosphorous shells for ammunition. Mounted messengers traveling over thirty-five miles of road were the only means of communication between Wilson and Colonel Moore's command post. [38]

In the early afternoon, Colonel Rhea

[35] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), pp. 35-37;
Ibid., Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), pp. 46-47. 

[36] Ibid., Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 47. 

[37] EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Sec Rpt, 29 Jul 50. 

[38] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.


guided 1st Lt. John C. Hughes with B Company, 19th Infantry, reinforced by approximately thirty-five men and their weapons from the Heavy Weapons Company, from Umyong-ni to relieve A Company, 19th Infantry, at Anui. A Company was engaged in a small arms fight and its relief could not be accomplished at once. Colonel Rhea returned to Umyong-ni, leaving instructions that the company should follow him as soon as possible, which he expected would be shortly. At Umyong-ni Rhea waited about five hours for A Company. Then, when reconnaissance toward Anui showed that an enemy force had cut the road, he started just before dusk with the rest of the battalion for Chinju as ordered. [39]

Meanwhile, Colonel Wilson had sent 2d Lt. Frank Iwanczyk, Assistant S-3, with two jeeps from Umyong-ni to make contact with the 34th Infantry at Koch'ang; 1st Lt. Sam C. Holliday, S-2, went to make contact with the ROK troops at Hamyang.

Iwanczyk set off northward. At the Anui crossroads he checked his map and then led off toward Koch'ang, waving the other jeep to follow. Because of the heavy dust the second jeep kept well behind the first.

A mile north of the crossroads, an enemy machine gun, hidden in a native hut on a turn of the road, suddenly poured devastating fire into the lead jeep. The bodies of all four men fell from the wrecked vehicle into a rice field. The second jeep stopped with a jerk and the men jumped into the ditch by the road. After three or four minutes of silence, seven or eight North Korean soldiers started down the road. They passed the first jeep and, when nearing the second, they shouted and started to run toward it. Pvt. Sidney D. Talley stood up and fired his M1 at the North Koreans. He killed two of them. His three companions now joined in firing. The surviving North Koreans turned and ran back.

One of the Americans scrambled up the bank, turned the jeep around, the others jumped in, and the driver raced back to the Anui crossroads. There, they excitedly told members of B Company about the roadblock. At the battalion command post they repeated their story. [40]

By this time, Lieutenant Holliday had returned from Hamyang. There he had found somewhat less than 600 men of the ROK 7th Division and 150 fresh South Korean marines from Mokp'o. Holliday with three men now set off for Anui. Two and a half miles short of the town, enemy fire from a roadblock destroyed their jeep and wounded one man in the chest. Holliday covered the withdrawal of his three men with BAR fire, and then followed them.

Relieved finally at Anui about 1600, A Company, 19th Infantry, loaded into trucks and started south to join Rhea's battalion. A mile below the town the company ran into a fire fight between North and South Korean troops and was stopped. After enemy fire wrecked six of its vehicles, the company destroyed the others, abandoned its heavy equipment, and started on foot through the hills toward the 34th Infantry positions at Koch'ang. The next morning 64 Ameri-

[39] Ltrs, Col Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53. 

[40] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.


can and 60 ROK soldiers came in to Colonel Beauchamp's positions there. Why this force did not return to Anui and join Lieutenant Hughes is not known. [41]

Meanwhile at Anui, Lieutenant Hughes' B Company, 28th Infantry, was under attack from superior numbers closing in from three sides, and by nightfall it had been forced back into the town. Hughes made plans to withdraw across the upper Nam River to a high hill east of the town. Two officers and sixteen men got across before enemy automatic fire cut off the rest. After vainly trying to help the rest of the company to break out eastward, the eighteen men went over the hills to the 34th Infantry position at Koch'ang. In Anui the cutoff troops engaged in street fighting until midnight. Those who escaped walked out through the hills during the next several days. Approximately half of the 215 men of B and D Companies, 29th Infantry, taking part in the Anui battle, were either killed or listed as missing in action. [42]

Colonel Wilson and the rest of the battalion at Umyong-ni meanwhile knew nothing of the fate of B Company at Anui except that enemy forces had engaged it, and that roadblocks were above and below it. Wilson made two unsuccessful attempts to send help to B Company.

The enemy troops that had closed on Anui were advanced units of the N.K. 4th Division. They were well aware that a mixed force of American and South Korean troops was only a few miles below them. To deal with this force, elements of the division turned south from Anui early on 28 July.

In defensive positions about Umyong-ni and Hamyang, Colonel Wilson's men were on the east side of the Nam River. Col. Min Ki Sik's remnants of the ROK 7th Division and a small force of South Korean marines were on the west side. American mortar fire turned back the small enemy force that approached Umyong-ni. On the west side of the river near Hamyang a hard fight developed. There, the South Koreans seemed about to lose the battle until their reserve marines fought through to the enemy's flank. This caused the North Koreans to withdraw northward. From prisoners captured in this battle Wilson learned of the American defeat at Anui the day before. [43]

Learning that evening that the enemy was moving around his battalion on back trails in the direction of Chinju, Colonel Wilson began, after dark, the first of a series of withdrawals. On 30 July the battalion reached the vicinity of Sanch'ong, twenty miles north of Chinju, and went into defensive positions there on orders from Colonel Moore. Colonel Min's ROK troops also withdrew southward, passed through Wilson's positions, and continued on into Chinju. [44]

[41] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 
159, 27 Jul, and entries 217 at 281120 and 219 at 281407 Jul 50; Ibid., 
G-2 Jnl, entry 1570, 27 Jul, and entries 1614 and 1621, 28 Jul 50; 24th 
Div WD, 29 Jul 50. 

[42] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53, The account of B Company 
action at Anui is based largely on information supplied by Lieutenant 
Hughes in the Notes. 

[43] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53. 

[44] Ibid. The author has been unable to find the 1st Battalion, 29th 
Infantry, records for July 1950. 


The N.K. 4th Division Seizes the Koch'ang Approach to the Naktong

Having brushed aside the American and ROK force at Anui, in what it called a "small engagement," the N.K. 4th Division turned northeast toward Koch'ang. A patrol from the 34th Infantry on 27 July had, from a distance, seen and heard the fighting in progress at Anui. Its report alerted Colonel Beauchamp to the possibility of an early attack. [45]

Colonel Beauchamp had disposed the 34th Infantry in a three-quarter circle around Koch'ang, which lay in the middle of a two-and-a-half-mile-wide oval-shaped basin in a north-south mountain valley. The 3d Battalion was on high ground astride the Anui road two miles west of the town, the 71st Battalion about the same distance east of it on the Hyopch'on road, a reinforced platoon of I Company at a roadblock across the Kumch'on road four miles north of the town, while the Heavy Mortar Company was at its northern edge. Artillery support consisted of A Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, which had five 105-mm. howitzers in position two miles southeast of the town. [46]

The 34th Infantry, not having been able to re-equip since Taejon, did not have a regimental switchboard. There were only a few radios. The regiment was short of mortars, bazookas, and machine guns. Some of the men did not have complete uniforms, many had no helmets, most did not have entrenching tools. Every man, however, did have his individual weapon.

Before dusk of 28 July, forward observers could see a long line of enemy traffic piled up behind a roadblock that the 34th Infantry had constructed at a defile on the Anui road west of the town. They directed artillery fire on this column until darkness fell. [47] Colonel Beauchamp then brought his two infantry battalions closer to Koch'ang for a tighter defense.

About dark, Beauchamp received orders to report to the 24th Division command post at Hyopch'on. There he told General Church of an anticipated enemy attack and of his plan to withdraw the 3d Battalion to a previously selected position three miles southeast of Koch'ang. General Church did not agree and told Beauchamp to hold the town. [48] Beauchamp thereupon telephoned his executive officer and told him to stop the withdrawal of the 3d Battalion. When Beauchamp returned to Koch'ang at 0300 everything was quiet.

In darkness an hour later (about 0400 29 July), a North Korean attack came from two directions. One force, striking from the north, cut off I Company. Another moved around the town on the north and then struck southward across the road east of Koch'ang. The 1st Battalion repulsed this attack, but then, without orders, fell back toward the secondary position three miles east of Ko-

[45] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 47; 
Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52. 

[46] Ibid.; 24th Div WD, 28 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 23-29 Jul 50, 
entries 219, 281407, and 220, 281415; 34th Inf WD, 25 Jul 50; Interv, 
author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; Interv author with Cheek (Ex Off, 13th 
FA Bn, and with A Btry at Koch'ang in Jul 50) 7 Aug 51.
[47] Intervs, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52, and Cheek, 7 Aug 51; 
24th Div WD, 28 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 23-29 Jul 50, entry 220, 281415. 

[48] Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.


ch'ang. Colonel Beauchamp met the battalion on the road and stopped it.

Before daylight the 3d Battalion, also without orders, fell back through Koch'ang, leaving I Company isolated to the north. This battalion ran a gantlet of enemy automatic and small arms fire for a mile, but in the protecting darkness suffered few casualties. After daylight the 1st Battalion rescued all but one platoon of I Company. The men of this platoon were either killed or captured. [49]

During the pre-dawn attack some small arms fire struck in the howitzer positions of A Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, from a ridge 500 yards eastward. Maj. Leon B. Cheek, the battalion executive officer, awoke to the sound of the firing. Hurrying to the road he saw the battery commander, who said the enemy had overrun the artillery. The battery executive officer came up and told Cheek that everyone had "taken off," although he had ordered the men to their foxholes. When the firing began, he said, someone yelled, "Run for your life!" Two squads of infantry attached to the artillery to provide security had joined the stampede. [50]

Cheek stopped the wild shooting in his vicinity and started toward the howitzers. He ordered all prime movers driven back to the gun positions. Twelve men from the artillery and the drivers of the prime movers obeyed. From the infantry, a BAR man and three riflemen volunteered to go forward to cover the artillerymen while they pulled out the howitzers. Cheek placed these four men in firing positions and they soon almost silenced the enemy. A small enemy patrol of six or seven men apparently had caused the debacle. Cheek and the twelve artillerymen loaded the equipment and ammunition, hitched the prime movers to the guns, and, one by one, pulled the five howitzers to the road. They then withdrew eastward.

During 29 July the 34th Infantry Regiment withdrew eastward 15 miles to hill positions near Sanje-ri on the road to Hyopch'on. From a point 3 miles south east of Koch'ang the road for the next 10 miles is virtually a defile. The with drawing 34th Infantry and its engineer troops blew all the bridges and at many points set off demolition charges in the cliffs overhanging the road. The 18th Regiment of the enemy division pressed on after the retreating 34th Infantry. The N.K. 4th Division left its artillery behind at Koch'ang because of the destroyed bridges ahead of it. In advancing to the Naktong River on the Hyopch'on road, it employed only small arms and mortar fire. [51] It was anticipated that the enemy force which had captured Koch'ang would soon approach the Naktong River for a crossing below Taegu. This prospect created another difficulty for Eighth Army. To meet it, General Walker told General Church he would send to him the ROK 17th Regiment, one of the best South Korean units at that time. He also shifted the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, from the P'ohang-dong

[49] 34th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50. 

[50] Interv, author with Cheek, 7 Aug 51; Ltr, Ayres to author, 5 Jun 53
(Ayres commanded the 1st Bn, at Koch'ang); 13th FA Bn WD, 29 Jul 50; 
Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.

[51] Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; 34th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50; 
34th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; ATIS 34th Inf, Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 
(N.K. 4th Div), p. 48.


Yongdok area on the east coast to Hyopch'on, where it took up defensive positions back of the 34th Infantry west of the town. The ROK 17th Regiment, 2,000 strong, arrived at the 34th Infantry position in the dead of night at 0200 30 July. It went at once into positions on the high ground on either flank. [52]

Only after the Koch'ang action did Eighth Army finally, on 31 July, identify the enemy unit in this area as the 4th Division. This led it to conclude in turn that the enemy force in the Chinju area was the 6th Division. Eighth Army then decided that the enemy effort against the United Nations' left flank was in reality being carried out by two widely separated forces: the N.K. 4th Division from the Anui-Koch'ang area, to envelop the main battle positions on Eighth Army's left flank, and the N.K. 6th Division from the Chinju area, to cut lines of communication in the rear, drive through Masan, and capture the port of Pusan. [53]

Chinju Falls to the Enemy-31 July

On 28 July, Colonel Rhea arrived at Chinju from Anui with the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, less A Company. He passed through the town with orders to take up blocking positions ten miles south. Rhea proceeded to the vicinity of Kuho-ri, about two miles west of the Sach'on Airfield. There his battalion of only 200 riflemen went into position to block a secondary road approach to Chinju along the coast from Hadong. [54] Colonel McGrail's 2d Battalion, 19th Infantry, that same morning occupied defensive positions on high ground astride the Chinju-Hadong road just west of the Nam River. Remnants of the 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, that had escaped from the Hadong fight and numerous ROK troops were in and around Chinju.

Aerial reconnaissance during that day and the next showed heavy enemy traffic entering Hadong from all roads and noted movement northeast on the Chinju road. American intelligence estimated that two enemy regiments with tanks were in the Hadong area. [55]

Before noon, 29 July, an enemy column with three motorcycles in the lead approached the 2d Battalion's advanced blocking position about six miles southwest of Chinju. Although there was an automatic weapon available, it did not fire on the column. The few rounds of artillery that fell were inaccurate and ineffective. The advanced unit, F Company, then withdrew to join the main battalion position just west of the Nam River four miles from Chinju. An air strike on the enemy column reportedly inflicted considerable damage, halting it temporarily. [56]

Early the next morning an enemy unit moved around the right flank (north) of the 2d Battalion and cut the road running northwest out of Chinju to the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry.

Captain Barszcz, from G Company's

[52] 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; Interv, author with Church, 25 Sep 52. The 
34th Infantry War Diary for 29 July says that the ROK 17th Regiment was 
in position that day. 

[53] EUSAK WD, PIR 19, 31 Jul 50.

[54] 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 206, 281245 Jul 50; Ltrs, Rhea to 
author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53. 

[55] 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entries 1651, 290755, and 1753, 290818 Jul 
50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, entries 247, 29100, and 260, 291145 Jul 50. 

[56] Interv, author with Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52; 24th Div WD, 29 Jul 
50; 19th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50.


position across the Nam River west of Chinju, saw and reported at least 800 enemy troops moving across his front Small arms fire did not disperse them. He called for an aerial observer, but the observer overhead reported he saw no enemy. The reason was clear: the North Koreans were all wearing foliage camouflage and they squatted quietly on the ground while the plane was overhead. Captain Barszcz directed artillery fire on the column, but after about twenty rounds the artillery stopped firing because of ammunition shortage. Rain and low overcasts during the day hampered efforts of aerial reconnaissance to report on enemy movements. [57]

That afternoon, 30 July, E and F Companies of the 19th Infantry fell back across the Nam River to the hills two miles west of Chinju. Just before evening, G Company crossed the river from its isolated position. Once on the east side it took up a defensive position in the flat ground near the river bank, with the mission of preventing enemy infiltration into Chinju between the road and the river. The hill positions of the rest of the battalion were beyond the road to its right (north). There was no physical contact between G Company and these troops. [58]

The 19th Infantry faced the critical test of the defense of Chinju pitifully understrength. Its unit report for 30 July gives the regiment a strength of 1,895, with 300 men in the 1st Battalion and 290 men in the 2d Battalion Colonel Moore, however, states that the strength of the 19th Infantry on 30 July, including the replacements that arrived that afternoon, was 1,544 The 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, still disorganized as a result of the Hadong battle, had a reported strength that day of 396 men. On 30 July, all ROK forces in the Chinju area came under Colonel Moore's command, including the remnants of the 7th Division, now known as Task Force Min, which during the day arrived at Chinju from the Hamyang area with 1,249 men. [59]

Several hundred replacements arrived at Chinju for the 19th Infantry at this time-175 on 28 July and 600 on 30 July-but it is doubtful if they contributed much to the combat effectiveness of the regiment in the Chinju battle. Of the 600 that arrived on 30 July, 500 went to the 19th Infantry and most of the remainder to the 13th Field Artillery Battalion. About 1600 these replacements started forward from the regimental command post in Chinju for distribution by the battalions to the rifle companies that evening. Although the rifle companies were then engaged with the enemy, Colonel Moore decided that they needed replacements at the front to help in the fighting, and that it would be best to send them forward at once rather than to wait for an opportunity to integrate them into the units during a lull in the battle. [60]

[57] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; 19th Inf 
WD, 30 Jul 50. Civilians in the Chinju area seemed openly hostile to 
American troops and friendly to the enemy. Refugees had to be watched 
closely. Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51. 

[58] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Notes, Montesclaros (Asst S-3, 
2d Bn, 19th Inf) for author, n.d.; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 
Jul 51.

[59] 19th Inf Unit Rpt 21 30 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 386, 
312325 Jul 50; EUSAK WD POR 53, 30 Jul 50; GHQ UNC G-3 Opn Rpt, 31 Jul 

[60] 19th Inf WD, Narr Summ, 22 Jul-25 Aug 50; Intervs, author with 
Moore, 20 Aug 52, and McGrail 24 Oct 52.


The 1st Battalion received about 150 of the replacements just before dark and Colonel Rhea immediately assigned them to companies. Some died without ever appearing on the company rosters. The 2d Battalion received an approximately equal number of replacements, and they, too, reached the rifle companies about dusk. Of the sixty replacements assigned to G Company, four or five became casualties before they reached the company position. Captain Barszcz had pleaded in vain with the battalion executive against sending replacements to him in the midst of action. He believed that they not only would be a burden to him but that many of them would be casualties. In the battle that night both fears became reality. [61]

After dark the enemy moved in for close-quarter attack. Before midnight, G Company killed several North Korean soldiers inside its perimeter. Out of communication with battalion headquarters, and with friendly artillery fire falling near, Barszcz tried to join the other rifle companies on his right, but he found North Koreans on the road in strength and had to move around them. About midnight he crossed the road to the north side. There he and his men lay hidden in bushes for two or three hours. During this time several enemy tanks loaded with infantry passed along the road headed in the direction of Chinju. [62]

The North Koreans directed their main attack against E and F Companies in front of Chinju. This began about 0215, 31 July, with artillery barrages. Forty-five minutes later whistles signaled the infantry attack and enemy soldiers closed in, delivering small arms fire. The main effort was against F Company on the hill overlooking the river. There a crisis developed about 0500. [63]

Back of the F Company hill, members of the Heavy Weapons Company watched the battle as it developed in front of them. One of the youngsters in H Company said, "Here comes the cavalry just like in the movies," as a platoon of F Company came off the hill followed by North Koreans. Other members of F Company ran toward E Company's position. At least one platoon of the Heavy Weapons Company opened fire on the intermingled American and North Korean soldiers. Within a few minutes, however, this platoon withdrew toward Chinju. At the edge of the town, Colonel McGrail met H Company and put it in a defensive position around the battalion command post. The organized parts of E and F Companies also fell back on Chinju about daylight. [64]

While this battle was in progress, Captain Barszcz received radio orders to move to Chinju. He took his company north over high ground and then circled eastward. On the way he picked up stragglers and wounded men from E, F, and H Companies, 19th Infantry, and K Company, 19th Infantry. By daylight his group was two or three miles northeast of Chinju. Around noon, Barszcz joined Colonel Moore and elements of the 19th

[61] Ltr, Rhea to author, 9 Apr 53; Ltr, Barszcz to author, 21 Aug 52; 
Interv, Blumenson with 2d Lt Joseph Szito, 25 Aug 51, Action in Chinju, 
in OCMH. Szito, in July 1950, was in the Mortar Platoon, H Company, 19th 

[62] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 
31 Jul 51.

[63] 19th Inf Unit Rpt 22, 31 Jul 50; Interv, author with McGrail, 24 
Oct 52; Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51.

[64] Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51.


Infantry east of the town. During the night, G Company had suffered about 40 casualties, but of this number it brought approximately 20 wounded through the hills with it-10 were litter cases. [65]

The 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, also had come under attack during the night. It held a strong defensive position below the Nam River on high ground four miles south of Chinju, overlooking the Sach'on-Chinju road near its juncture with the road east to Masan.

Colonel Rhea and his men at dusk on 30 July could clearly see North Koreans out in the open going into position, but they were forbidden to fire because a ROK Marine battalion attack was scheduled to sweep across in front of them. But the ROK's never entered the fight there, and the enemy used this three-to-four-hour period unmolested for maneuvering against the 1st Battalion. [66]

That night, enemy mortars and self-propelled weapons supported efforts of the N.K. 15th Regiment to infiltrate the 1st Battalion's position. But it was on terrain hard to attack, and the enemy effort failed. The North Koreans in front of the 1st Battalion withdrew before dawn, apparently veering off to the northwest.

After daylight, 31 July, Colonel Rhea, on orders from Colonel Moore, began moving his battalion ten miles eastward on the Masan road to occupy a defensive position at the Chinju pass. The 1st Battalion withdrew to this position without enemy contact and went into defensive perimeter there astride the road before nightfall. [67]

Within Chinju itself, Colonel Moore, shortly after daybreak, prepared to evacuate the town. By 0600 enemy small arms fire was striking in its western edge, and six North Korean armored vehicles, which Colonel Moore believed to be three tanks and three self-propelled guns, were in Chinju firing at American targets. At 0640 Moore ordered heavy equipment withdrawn from the town. Fifty minutes later the 13th Field Artillery Battalion (less A Battery) and B Battery, 11th Field Artillery Battalion, started to displace and move eastward. Enemy mortar, machine gun, and small arms fire fell in Chinju during the withdrawal. Enemy snipers were also inside the town. [68]

By 0745, 31 July, Maj. Jack R. Emery, regimental S-4, had dispatched eastward out of Chinju the last of five trains totaling twenty-five cars evacuating the 19th Infantry supplies. Colonel Moore and his command post stayed in Chinju until about 0800.

The withdrawal from Chinju was relatively orderly, although slow and laborious, with refugees, animal-drawn wagons, and American and ROK foot soldiers intermingled in the streets. There was some tendency to panic, however, and Colonel Moore himself had occasion

[65] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 
31 Jul 51; Moore, Notes for author, Jul 53. 

[66] Ltrs, Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53, together with sketch map 
of 1st Bn positions, 28-31 Jul 50.

[67] Ibid.; Ltr, Maj Elliot C. Cutler, Jr., to author, 9 Mar 53. Cutler 
was Acting S-3, 19th Infantry, at the time. 

[68] Intervs, author with Moore and Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52; 24th Div 
WD, 31 Jul 50; 25th Div WD, 3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, Aug 50; New York 
Times, August 1, 1950, W. H. Lawrence dispatch from southwestern front; 
13th FA Bn WD, 31 Jul 50.


to stop some cars that started to "take off" east of Chinju.[69]

The main highway bridge over the Nam at the southern edge of Chinju was under enemy fire and considered unusable. In the withdrawal, therefore, the 2d Battalion followed the road north of the Nam to Uiryong, where it assembled on the evening of 31 July. The regimental command post moved eastward out of Chinju, crossed the Nam about 3 miles northeast of the town, and then went east on the Masan road to Chiryong-ni, a small village 12 air miles east of Chinju and 1 mile beyond the Much'on-ni-Masan road fork. The artillery, accompanied by the 3d Battalion, 29th Infantry, withdrew from Chinju north of the Nam River, crossing to the south side at Uiryong, and went into an assembly area at Komam-ni (Saga) shortly after noon. There it received an airdrop message from General Church ordering it to return to the vicinity of Chinju. During the afternoon the five 105-mm. howitzers of B Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, and the eight 155-mm. howitzers of B Battery, 11th Field Artillery Battalion, rolled west and went into position at the Chinju pass in support of Colonel Rhea's 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry. [70]

The 19th Infantry estimated enemy strength in the Chinju area, when the city fell on the morning of 31 July, as 2,000 troops, with an unknown number of tanks and artillery pieces. American aerial strikes on Chinju during the day left it in flames. Late that night a Korean source sent a message that 4,000 enemy troops were in Chinju setting up communications and weapons. [71]

A ROK Army source reported that North Koreans had secured Chinju at 0900, 31 July. This may very well have been true for the main part of the town north of the Nam River, but it was not true for that part south of the Nam, where 1st Lt. Samuel R. Fowler and fourteen enlisted men still stayed by three M26 Pershing medium tanks.

Three Pershing Tanks at Chinju

One little drama was enacted in Chinju on 31 July after the 19th Infantry withdrew from the town that should be told. It is the story of the first three medium tanks in Korea and their brave commander. On 28 June, the fourth day of the war, Col. Olaf P. Winningstad, Eighth Army Ordnance chief, found three M26 Pershing medium tanks at the Tokyo Ordnance Depot in bad condition and needing extensive repairs, including rebuilt engines. The repair work began at once and was completed on 13 July. The three tanks were shipped to Pusan where they arrived on 16 July, the first American medium tanks in Korea. With them were Lieutenant Fowler and fourteen enlisted crew members. Trained to operate M24 light tanks, they were now expected to become familiar with the Pershing tank.

The tanks gave trouble because of improper fan belts that would stretch and permit the motors to overheat. Belts made in Japan were either too short or

[69] Interv, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52: Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 
25 Aug 51.
[70] Intervs, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52, and McGrail, 24 Oct 52; Ltr, 
Cutler to author, 9 Mar 53; 13th FA Bn WD, 31 Jul 50. 

[71] 19th Inf Unit Rpt 22, 31 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 10, 
010255 Aug 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, entry 421, 011800 Aug 50.


too long despite emergency orders for corrections in them. [72]

Eighth Army hoped to use these tanks to help stop the North Korean drive in the southwest. It sent them by rail to Chinju where they arrived at 0300, 28 July. They were unloaded at the Rail Transportation Office on the south side of the Nam River where the rail line terminated. There they awaited new belts. When the N.K. 6th Division entered Chinju on the morning of 31 July, these tanks took no part in the battle.

Flatcars from Pusan to evacuate the tanks passed through Masan the morning of 31 July but never got beyond Chungam-ni, about twenty-five miles short of Chinju. Snarled rail traffic caused by evacuation of the 19th Infantry supplies blocked the way.

At daybreak, Lieutenant Fowler went to Colonel Moore for instructions. Moore told him that if the enemy overran the 19th Infantry positions on the northwest side of Chinju and he could not evacuate the tanks under their own power, he was to destroy them and evacuate his tank crews by truck. Lieutenant Fowler telephoned Masan and apparently learned that the flatcars had departed there for Chinju to get the tanks. He decided to stay. [73]

Gradually the firing in Chinju died down. A ROK soldier who passed the rail station about noon told Fowler that only a very few ROK soldiers were still in the town.

A little later, William R. Moore, an Associated Press correspondent, suddenly appeared and suggested to Fowler that he should check a body of men coming up the rail track. It was now perhaps an hour past noon. Fowler had an interpreter call to the approaching men. They were North Koreans. Fowler ordered his tank crews to open fire. In the fire fight that immediately flared between the tank .30- and .50-caliber machine guns and the enemy small arms fire, Fowler received a bullet in his left side. In this close-range fight the tank machine gun fire killed or wounded most of the enemy group, which was about platoon size. The tankers put Fowler into his tank and started the three tanks east on the road to Masan.

Two miles down the road the tanks came to a blown bridge. The men prepared to abandon the tanks and proceed on foot. They removed Fowler from his tank and made a litter for him. Fowler ordered the men to destroy the tanks by dropping grenades into them. Three men started for the tanks to do this. At this moment an enemy force lying in ambush opened fire. A number of men got under the bridge with Fowler. MSgt. Bryant E. W. Shrader was the only man on the tanks. He opened fire with the .50-caliber machine gun. A North Korean called out in English for the men to surrender.

Shrader left the machine gun, started the tank, and drove it close to one of the other tanks. He dropped the escape hatch and took in six men. He then drove back toward Chinju and stopped the tank a few feet short of the bridge over the Nam, undecided whether to cross to the other side. There the overheated engine stopped and would not start again. The seven men abandoned the tank and ran into the bamboo thickets fringing the

[72] EUSAK Inspector General Rpt (Col William 0. Perry), Three M26 Tanks 
at Chinju, 31 Jul 50, dated 10 Sep 50. 

[73] Ibid., testimonies of Col Moore, Maj Emery, Capt Applegate (RTO 
Off, Masan), Pvt Harold Delmar; Interv, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52.


river. After many close calls with enemy forces Shrader and his group finally reached safety and passed through the lines of the 25th Division west of Masan. [74]

The men back at the blown bridge had no chance. Some were killed or wounded at the first fire. Others were killed or wounded under the bridge. A few ran into nearby fields trying to escape but were killed or captured. One of those captured said later he saw several bodies floating in the stream and recognized two as Fowler and Moore. [75]

Colonel Wilson Escapes With the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry

On the morning of 31 July, the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, was at Sanch'ong. It was unaware that Chinju, twenty air miles to the southeast, had fallen and that the 19th Infantry Regiment had withdrawn eastward.

The mess trucks that went to Chinju the day before from the battalion had not returned. During the morning local villagers suddenly disappeared, a sure sign that enemy forces were approaching. Colonel Wilson drove south to Tansong, ten air miles from Chinju, where he had a roadblock. While he talked with Lieutenant Griffin, who was in command of a platoon there, about 700 refugees streamed through the roadblock. All agreed that enemy troops were behind them. [76]

Colonel Wilson now decided to send the battalion's heavy vehicles out eastward before the roads were cut. His executive officer, Maj. Charles E. Arnold, brought the vehicular convoy to Tansong and there it turned east over a trail through the mountains in the direction of Uiryong. The trail was passable only to jeeps. But by the labors of his own men and all the Koreans he could assemble, Arnold improved it to the extent that all vehicles got through and reached Chungam-ni, except one that broke through an improvised bridge and was abandoned.

At 1700, Colonel Wilson and the battalion troops started withdrawing southward from Sanch'ong. They had marched about an hour when a liaison plane flew over the column and dropped a message. Opening it, Colonel Wilson was astonished to read, "Yesterday you were ordered to report to the concentration area of Haman. What are you doing here?" Haman was thirty-five miles away as the crow flies and much farther by the roads and mountain trails.

Wilson led his battalion on down to Tansong. There, a South Korean naval lieutenant detached himself from a group of refugees and came over to Wilson with a map. He said he had been at Chinju and that the American troops had left there, retreating eastward. He continued, "The Reds are just seven miles behind us and will get here tonight." Wilson talked to him at length and became convinced that his story was reliable. After consulting some of the battalion staff, Wilson decided to leave the Chinju road and head for Haman across the mountains.

The men discarded all personal effects. Three or four sick and injured

[74] EUSAK IG Rpt, testimony of Capt John W. Coyle, Jr. (CO 8066th Mech 
Rec Det), 2d Lt Vincent P. Geske, Sgt Francis A. Hober, and MSgt Bryant 
E. W. Shrader (C Co, 88th Tk Bn), Pfc Carl Anderson; ATIS Res Supp 
Interrog Rpts, Issue 1, Rpt 1, p. 119, Capt Pak Tong Huk. 

[75] EUSAK IG Rpt, testimony of Pfc Anderson. 

[76] Ltr, Col Wesley C. Wilson to author, 13 Jun 53; Holliday, Notes for 
author, 31 Mar 53.


soldiers rode in the few jeeps, which also carried the radios, mortars, and machine guns. The battalion late in the evening headed east over the Uiryong trail. At 0200 the men reached Masang-ni, where the last north-south road that the enemy from the Chinju area could use to cut them off intersected the lateral trail they were following. Once east of this crossroad point, Wilson halted the battalion and, after security guards were posted, the men lay down to rest. During their night march, many refugees had joined them.

At 0600 the next morning, 1 August, the battalion took up the march eastward. It forded a stream and, half a mile beyond, the footsore men came on a gladsome sight: Major Arnold awaited them with a convoy of the battalion's trucks that he had led out the day before. [77]

On the last day of July the North Koreans could look back on a spectacular triumph in their enveloping maneuver through southwest Korea. Chinju had fallen. Their troops were ready to march on Masan and, once past that place, to drive directly on Pusan.

[77] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.